One Year On: Freedom, Fearless, Celebrate

Morton Brown Family Wealth has crossed the milestone of one year since our founding. Katie and I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude for the trust of the families whom we serve, the team who has bought into our vision, and all of the family and friends who give loving support for the work that we do.

I keep a Moleskine notebook with me every day and write (illegibly) my thoughts and observations, some of which eventually make it here to the blog. I am trying to get better at this writing habit because at times like this, when I want to reflect, I can reach back to what I thought in the moment.

What did I think when we flipped the switch and the firm went live? Humbled. When the markets sank at our first year-end? A healthy test for us and our clients. When work was coming back from vendors sub-standard? Fight for higher standards.

The most recurring words that surface though, are the three words that we decided at the start would define our first year: Freedom, Fearless, Celebrate. They are simple reminders for us of the opportunity ahead, the challenges we will face, and the attitude that will make it all worth it.

Freedom: I have heard it said that the highest expression of Freedom is Commitment. I could do anything, I choose to do this. A year ago we could have built a firm any way that we chose, but we expressed our freedom by defining what we are creating: Confident families. We will not be all things to all people, but rather focus on supporting the unique decisions that families make about money. That commitment has been liberating.

Fearless:  Launching Morton Brown felt bold in the moment, but that need for boldness has not subsided. We have found that it takes guts to have candid conversations with clients, to speak out loud about our strongly held beliefs, and to take on some of the lesser practices of our industry. It is necessary, though, and it builds muscle. I think we are much better today at seeking out those fearless moments, supporting each member of the team as they do courageous things, and using the strength that we build to benefit our clients.

Celebrate:  This one’s for me, especially. I feel blessed to always have an eye out toward the horizon, looking ahead to see what might be coming. That means the blind spots are often in the moment, when great accomplishments and special moments are happening here and now. I want our culture to be one of celebration, where we pause to recognize how amazing it is that we get to do this work. For people we care about. With people who cheer for each other.  Supported by the people who love us. Cheers!

I am going to keep these words top of mind for the remainder of 2019, then retire them and look out for what will define 2020. Looking back, Freedom, Fearless, and Celebrate, felt right as a concept a year ago and helped build a culture of which I am very proud.